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Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King & Malcolm X

1682 words - 7 pages

The perception of reporters, political leaders and the public was that Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were opponents in the Civil Rights Movement. They were portrayed that way in the media but in reality they were not rivals, they were both dedicated to the same goals. They differed in opinion on how to reach the goal, but even their opinions were not that far apart. Each had a strong opinion which was conditioned against the reality of American culture and laws in the Cold War era. Martin Luther King Jr. believed nonviolence was the best way to achieve the changes in American society that were needed for the Blacks in America to have equality, and Malcolm X believed that without the ...view middle of the document...

The primary problem faced by Blacks in America, the problem from which all other issued stemmed is discrimination.Discrimination against African Americans came in many forms. Blacks were prevented from voting, they were denied the right to use the same lunch counter as whites. They were denied all the rights and privileges that were taken for granted by the whites. Martin Luther King Jr. said it very poignantly when he described having to explain to his six-year-old daughter why she could not go to a park only because she was born black instead of white (Howard-Pitney 79). Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X both found that there were too many cases of discrimination and not enough cases of compassion. Both men pointed out that the same society who would not let blacks use the same drinking fountains and bathrooms as whites in America were being sent to Vietnam to eat, drink, sleep and fight together. Dr. King complained that the young black men of America were being sent to Southeast Asia to guarantee liberties for the Vietnamese that they were not guaranteed in America. The hypocrisy of this situation showed the level of discrimination against the African American population. They were dieing to give people the right to vote when they were not given the right to vote. Even after the blacks won the right to vote the whites used gerrymandering to prevent them from being able to obtain any power with their vote.The denial of the vote to African Americans was a rallying point of the Civil Rights Movement. States that blocked African Americans from voting were able to do so even when they were given the right to vote by placing requirements that targeted blacks for failure. It could be a qualifying test, a fee for voting that the blacks could not afford or some other method of preventing them from voting. Florida, as we learned in the last election was still finding methods of preventing African Americans from exercising their constitutionally provided right to vote. Malcolm X told African Americans that as long as they were not allowed to vote they were not Americans, because Americans had the right to vote and African Americans did not. Yet they were required to obey the laws, pay taxes and suffer the consequences if they did not. They were, in effect, citizens as long as they did not want or ask for anything. They faced the costs of citizenship but none of the benefits. They were allowed to clean homes and work in homes of whites, but not allowed to live in their neighborhoods. They were allowed to raise white children as long as they did not expect to live near them.Segregation was very painful to African Americans. Not being allowed the freedom to enter certain stores, children were not allowed in schools with white children and they could not sit in the front of a bus. They were treated in a way that it was clear that they were hated and considered inferior. African Americans were segregated everywhere but the military. Children who were...

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